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Beading Tips and Advice

Tips and Advice for Beads

Choosing Delica Colours

Something that always shocks me is that when you put two tubes of delicas next to each other they may look different but side by side in beadwork they will look almost identical. Colours like white and yellow can merge together so easily.

This is one reason why if you buy patterns that have not been tested you might find the recommend colours don't quite look as they should. It is always wise to bead a small sample piece of the colours you are using to check they will work together.

As a designer I find myself spending a very long time mulling over colours and what will work and where. Sometimes even I get it wrong when I am using a new colour and have to pull my work apart and redesign it as it is not quite working as it should.

Miyuki have well over 1250 individual colours to choose from. You might think that is a lot. But actually it isn't really, some colours are the same with different finishes. I find that sometimes when you put two similar colours together, for them to stand out against each other you may need a different finish to highlight the difference.

Something to remember is not all Delicas are created equal. Now you might be shocked to hear this, after all Delicas are known for their uniformity. But take a look at the vast array of finishes and colours you can get in Delicas. Some colours are within the glass yet others are dyed, have additional glazes or are even plated. All these finished can create microscopic differences in the size of the bead.

Now you might think microscopic differnces aren't that big a deal, but in some circumstances they can be. These differences are likely to create distortions within the beadwork like making beadwork wonky or wobbly. Think of how you are using beads in a project and whether a slight difference could cause a problem, for instance joining beadwork together, creating a pattern, needing a nice sharp line etc. If I am to be working with Round Peyote, I know that to combine a galvanised duracoat with a transparent bead may not work, or my design would have to cater for this.

Some finishes are actually more brittle than others, such as Satin or Silk beads. They are beautiful but only use in 3D work at your own peril - they are known to easily chip and break and should really only be used in work which does not put much pressure on the beads.

Substituting Delica Colours

It happens to all of us. You have a project that calls for one colour and you don't have or can't get that colour.

The good news is most colours have a fairly close substitute, there may be a slight finish difference which is not that noticeable.

If you search on for the colour you want to substitute and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see we have done the hard work for you and listed the closest colours to the one you are looking at. Here is an example for DB1587:

As you can see most colours have quite a few similar colours, so we need to choose one that is closest. For instance DB 1587 is a matt colour, so in this case the closest colour to this is DB 1137 with an opaque finish. If your colour has an AB coating, it maybe a lustre coating would be an ideal substitute.

Substituting colours is not an exact science however, I would always recommend that you bead up a little sample of the colours together if you are not sure. Designers spend a lot of time choosing bead colours for this very reason.

How many Delica beads do I need

In our patterns we give you the amount of beads you need for a pattern. So for some colours you may only need one or two beads, for others you may need a couple of thousand.

However when you come to purchase delicas you will find that as they are so small they tend to be sold in grams. So how do you know what you need?

Miyuki, the manufacturer of the beads, state that there are approximately 200 beads per gram. In practice this is not so precise. The finish on the beads can make a large difference on how many beads per gram you will get. Galvanised Duracoat which is a thick coating will give you less beads than an opaque finish.

We always recommend that there are around 190 beads per gram, but always suggest you have a little extra just in case. To make this easy for you on our Delica Bead Page we have a Delica Bead Calculator, type in the bead you want, how many projects you will be doing and either the bead count or grams you need and the calculator will do the rest!

You can also get a direct link to our Delica Calculator here: Delica Calculator